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Rich Strike, the underdog who finished first in this year’s Kentucky Derby, will not compete in the Preakness Stakes in Maryland next weekend, losing his chance of winning the Triple Crown, one of the most coveted titles in horse races.
After speaking with his team, Rich Strike owner Rick Dawson said his champion racehorse will not be competing in the Preakness Stakes next Saturday, the second leg of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Instead, the RED TR-Racing team will focus on the third leg of the series, the Belmont Stakes in New York, which is due to take place in June.
The team will follow a plan that was put in place before Rich Strike, also known as Ritchie, delivered one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history last weekend.
“Obviously with our tremendous effort and victory in the Derby there is a very, very tempting move to alter our course and run into the Preakness at Pimlico which would be a great honor for our whole group,” said Dawson. in a statement Thursday. “However, after many discussions and considerations with my coach, Eric Reed and a few others, we will stick with our plan of what is best for Ritchie is best for our group.”
With Ritchie dropping Pimlico, there will be no Triple Crown winner this year. Only 13 horses have been won at the three legs of the series, a feat known to many, if not all, as the greatest title in competitive horse racing.
Dawson said the plan had always been that if Ritchie raced in Kentucky — depending on the outcome and the condition of the horse — he would skip the Preakness Stakes and instead push for Belmont or another race with five or six weeks off. to his credit.
Ritchie secured his place in the race just a day before the Derby. Another horse, Ethereal Road, gave up giving Rich Strike the chance he needed to pull off his upset. Rich Strike and his jockey, Sonny Leon, waited until the very end of the race to move on, while favorites, Epicenter and Zandon, took the lead, according to a press release from the Kentucky Derby.
No one saw it coming when Rich Strike broke for the win, passing Epicenter and Zandon down the stretch.
“I didn’t know if he could win but I had a good feeling with him,” Leon said in a statement. “I had to wait until the stretch and I did. I waited and then the rail opened up. I wasn’t nervous, I was excited. Nobody knows my horse as I know my horse.”